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Microsoft Surface Review: Sleek In Aesthetics, Yet Versatile In Functionality

Personally, I prefer gaming-grade rigs, such as Dell’s Alienware or Asus ROG line of gaming-oriented laptops. In comparison, the Microsoft Surface laptop seems almost modest — with its light frame and corporate, not-built-for-heavy-use look. But don’t let that fool you from its workhorse capabilities; it may not run Triple A games as well as a Razer Blade, but it will certainly be more than enough for anybody that doesn’t play first-person-shooters for a full-time living.

First Impressions

When it comes to looks, the Microsoft Surface Pro is neatly and elegantly presented. It looks sleek, simplistic and professional; essentially what a smooth high-flying corporate worker would look like if he or she were a laptop. Overall, it’s an aesthetically pleasing laptop to look at, with a thin frame that looks a joy carry around.  

Microsoft Surface review - pic1
Simple, functional and smooth. Bonus points for convenience.

Performance

The Surface runs like a MacBook Pro. It’s extremely smooth, with little to no perceivable lag in performance overall, and can even run 3D programs like SketchUp pretty well; I was able to model and preview animations with no dip in framerate.

Being a touchscreen laptop — and coming with the option of a Surface Pen — this could be the companion of choice for artists, architects, or anyone with an occupation requiring a lot of drawing. will enjoy this, Of course, the laptop runs Photoshop decently.

I took a side track and attempted to run Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). That was when the cracks started to show; the lack of a powerful graphics card resulted in the device running like a train wreck when trying to play the game, and I found myself facing lag spike after lag spike.

Microsoft Surface review - touch screen

The Surface uses Intel’s line of graphic cards, specifically the Intel HD 620 and the Intel Iris Plus 640, so don’t expect NVIDIA levels of GPU performance. To be fair, it runs smaller-scale games pretty well, so casual gamers are all set, but for the hardcore gamers might have to look elsewhere.

Interestingly, the Surface comes with a function to record your gameplay footage. It’s a nice bonus, but I don’t think it’ll be used to its fullest potential here.

Form Factor

The laptop features a 13.5”, scratch-resistant touchscreen that delivers a 201 PPI pixel count, and has an unique aspect ratio of 3:2.

Weighing in at less than 800g, the Surface is an extremely lightweight device, so one can easily bring it in and out of the office or studio without much of a hassle. Compared to the aforementioned MacBook Pro, which is cheaper by roughly US$100, the Surface is lighter by more than 200g. So you admittedly pay more…but don’t have to carry as much weight. Whether that is worth it or not depends on you.

Microsoft Surface review - ports

You may also immediately notice the lack of USB ports on the device; well actually, there’s just one. There is also no SD card reader, which might really only prove to be a slight hindrance to anyone who really needs to use them, i.e photographers.

If you’re like me, and you like to connect a mouse to your laptop, transferring files in and out is going to be a real pain in the…you know.

Microsoft Surface: A Refreshing Change

Between its boons and boo-boos, the Surface was still a refreshing change from what I’m used to on my gaming-grade laptops. I used the Surface to write this review and after a month of use, I’ve come to love how everything feels so clean and simple. During my (roughly) first week of use, the Surface also prompted me with helpful hints for setup and everyday usage.

Microsoft Surface review - side view

The Surface will probably be the best device to use in the offices of the corporate world; for all white-collared workers in general. In fact, the device almost seems to be specifically designed and optimised for the office space. Even though it’s such a specialized laptop, I recommend that almost anyone can find a use for it; in the office, in digital art studios, even in schools. It’s a one-of-a-kind device bundled with a mix of the features you would most likely find useful day-to-day. Its high pricing is justified as a device that would definitely serve you well.

Microsoft Surface Technical Specifications

Screen: 13.5” touchscreen with active digitizer pen input support
Resolution: 2256 x 1504
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
Memory: Up to 16GB RAM
Processor: Intel Core i5-7200U 7th Gen dual-core 2.5-3.1GHz 3MB cache
Software: Windows 10 Pro
Storage: SSD up to 1TB
Battery Life: Up to 14.5 hours video playback
Graphics:
Intel® HD Graphics 615 (m3)
Intel® HD Graphics 620 (i5)
Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 640 (i7)
Weight: Up to 784 g

Visuals courtesy of Microsoft.

Microsoft Surface

S$618
8.8

Design

9.0/10

Ergonomics

8.5/10

Functionality

9.0/10

Pros

  • Lightweight and sleek design
  • Scratch-resistant touchscreen
  • Great for white-collar professionals

Cons

  • Not ideal for gaming
  • No SD card reader available
  • Comes with only one USB port
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Aries Kee

Gaming enthusiast and aspiring designer. Let's start a conversation!

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